We’re kicking off our second century of podcasts by flipping the tables and answering your questions for the 101st episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Justin Blackman (of 100-Headline-Project fame) grabs the microphone to ask Kira and Rob all about…
• who Rob and Kira really are
• how Rob and Kira met and decided to start The Copywriter Club together
• where the idea for The Copywriter Accelerator came from
• the story behind the creation of the first Copywriter Club event
• why we shut down our second program and what we learned
• some of the other mistakes we’ve made over the past year or so
• how The Copywriter Club has changed our own businesses
• the progress we’ve made on the goals we shared in episode 50
• how the podcast (and our guests) have helped us improve our writing and processes
• what we’ve learned going through The Copywriter Accelerator for the third time
• when we plan on taking a break from learning
• what’s coming up for The Copywriter Club in the coming months
Plus Justin asked a long list of “lightning round” questions that we do our best to answer—but let’s face it, we’re not very good at the whole quick answer, lightning fast thing. So, if you want to know more about Rob and Kira and a bit of what’s going on behind the scenes at the club, download this one to your favorite podcast player. You can also hit the play button below or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Justin Blackman
The Copywriter Accelerator
The Copywriter Club IRL Event (link coming soon)
Kim Krause Schwalm
The Copy Clinic
The Copywriter Club book lists
Wikipedia’s List of Lists
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Justin: What if you could hang out with two moderately talented copywriters, who spend all day asking seriously talented copywriters, about their successes and failures, they’re work processes and their habits, and steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what I’m going to do with Kira and Rob this week, at The Copywriter Club Podcast. You’re invited to join the club for episode 101 as I turn the microphone on Rob Marsh and Kira Hug and dive into what it’s like to run a gigantic Facebook group, interview copywriting royalty, develop a training program, and create a think tank, on top of managing their own work.
Rob, Kira, welcome to your show.
Rob: Moderately talented, might give us more credit than what we deserve. Might be overstating things a little.
Kira: That’s true, I’m flattered. Thank you.
Rob: Let’s do this Justin, let’s do it.
Justin: Let’s do it. So, I’m going to turn the tables a little bit. We’re going to get into what it’s like to run The Copywriter Club and Facebook group, your Accelerator, The Think Tank, your own client work. So we’re going to get into it a little bit about who are Rob and Kira? I know you guys, you’re a bit of an unlikely pair. Rob you’re a little more formal, a little buttoned up and corporate. Kira, a little wild child, dressing up like a pirate, you got your hair colored like a troll. But somehow you guys, you make it work. So I want to hear a little bit of rundown about how you guys met, and what’s the history of the TCC.
Kira: Rob, I’ll let you tell our Tinder story.
Rob: I think you tell it better than I do actually though. So, yeah, the short story is that, yeah, we met on Tinder and we both swiped right, and it just was meant to be. And then the longer version is that it had nothing to do with Tinder and we met in a mastermind group run by Copy Hackers. And it took us about maybe a year, but over that year we sort of got to know each other a little bit, shared our copy with each other. And at the end of a year, a few people had started suggesting that we should be doing something together, some kind of project or something and I had explored the idea of doing a podcast and reached out to Kira and said ‘Hey, I’ve got this domain, The Copywriter Club. I don’t know what we should do with it, maybe we should do a podcast.’ And she was game. And that’s all she wrote, it’s been fun ever since.
Kira: Yeah, that’s it. I never thought about a partnership necessarily. I wasn’t looking for a partner. But it was interesting that several people … not just one, mentioned you two should do something together. And I think we were both like, what, huh? And then when Rob mentioned his idea around The Copywriter Club, I was just in because I was looking for a podcast. I wanted to host a podcast again, I had had one previously and I also love building communities. And I thought Rob was a decent human being and we would get along. So it just seemed like a no brainer decision.
Justin: Alright, so it was a podcast first and then the Facebook group came along pretty quick right?
Rob: We put together the Facebook group actually right when we launched the podcast, simply so there would be a place for people to discuss anything that we talked about, or to ask additional questions. We just thought it would be a good support place, you know, just to hang out and have a group. We had no idea how big it was going to get. There weren’t really any harden fast plans about any grand strategy of what it was going to become, but those two things, we pretty much launched the same week, the first week of January.
Justin: Nice. So were courses ever part of the original plan?
Kira: Well, we knew from the beginning that this was not a hobby and it wasn’t going to be a non-profit. And that we both you know we wanted to build a business together and monetize it eventually. So we understood that, that wouldn’t happen overnight but I think we were both very clear and had a conversation where we’re like, hey we both have families, we both have a lot of client work, a lot happening, so what are our intentions? And so we were pretty serious about just treating it like a business, from day one. So we knew that we were both interested in creating training programs and creating content. We both really enjoyed creating content, although I would say, we don’t create enough of it now. That’s what we really want to do more of. I mean the idea was to figure out what is needed in the space and to create it. But I don’t think we knew exactly what that looked like at the time.
Justin: Now you guys sort of came about with of a course The Accelerator which became more of a business foundation course. Was that your initial goal or did you kind of think that it might be more of just a general copywriting course?
Rob: So, yeah, like Kira said, we didn’t really have a plan. But what we started seeing in the Facebook group in particular, was people were asking for help mostly about business questions. How do I get my first client? How do I choose a niche? How do I setup things so that I can be successful? How do I get my second client? And so we kept seeing these kinds of themes repeated over and over and over in the Facebook group. And that led us to think, okay, if we’re going to help everybody in a broader way, or at least help as many people in our group as possible that seems to be where the biggest need is at this point. And so that’s the first thing that we built.
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Justin: Very cool
Kira: Right. We were thinking through also, okay, what are the six components, I don’t know how we settled on six, but six felt right. Maybe Rob … that was your idea. Like the six cornerstones of a business based off what had worked for us, what we had seen worked for others, and then also what we were learning in the podcast interviews too. So we created the program based on what we felt like were the core components you need to get the business up and running. And also based on topics that we’re both interested in and enjoy talking about too, like branding, positioning, niche’ing, which we talk about a lot in the podcast. And putting yourself out there and building authority too, so all of it is stuff we really enjoy and we feel like we also see how it’s helped copywriters. So I think we kind of, just took a chance on those six core components, but it ended up working out well.
Justin: Nice, and then the conference, that came about last year. What was the tipping point that you realized you guys are big enough to be able to pull one of those off now?
Rob: I’m not sure that there was a tipping point. So we were asked by Joanna Wiebe at Copy Hackers, to help with a promotion that she was doing. And we thought in order to really succeed at that, we needed to come up with a bonus that would resonate with people and that people would be interested in. And we had been talking about possibly doing an event sometime in 2018, maybe at the end of the year. We’ve actually been talking to a couple of the speakers that we had at our event and maybe doing something together. And when Joanna reached out, we just said, well let’s just throw out a ticket and see what the response is. And we were surprised that so many people were interested in it. And it really forced our hands to then deliver and create a conference after we had done that promotion with Joanna.
Kira: Right. And meantime … it seems like the same way that Rob and I partnered and multiple people said hey, you two should think about this. At the same time that we were working with promoting Joanna’s program, other people, like our mentor, Brian Kurtz, kept telling us we should think about an event and really just kind of kept pushing that idea. And we were talking to Kim Krause Schwalm about partnering with her, you know, doing some type of event as well. So it kept coming up and I think was a little bit more resistant to do an event, because I’ve done events in previous jobs, I know how much effort and time and resources it takes. But, at some point when you realize there is interest there, we just committed. I’m not sure … maybe Rob persuaded me to do it, I’m not quite sure.
Justin: That’s pretty cool. So essentially you guys kind of put the cart before the horse a little bit on that one, but you pulled it off.
Rob: Yeah, you could probably describe a lot of the stuff that we do as putting the cart before the horse because we’d look at a lot of this stuff as experiments. And just trying things out to see what will work, and if it works we keep doing it, and we do more of it. And if it doesn’t work we cut it, and we say you know, what else should we be doing instead, or what could we be doing better if we’re going to do this thing again in the future? So the event, we sort of looked at it in the same way, we said we’re going to do it. A lot of people said you should either do a one day event, or a three day event and of course we didn’t take their advice, we did a two day event. And other people said, don’t have too many speakers, and of course we had way too many speakers but the content that they brought to that show made such a huge difference.
It was so jam packed with really good information, helpful as far as freelancing and copywriting skills and it just ended up being a much bigger success than what we expected. And again we just try stuff, and see what happens. And that’s kind of been our mantra for the last 18 months.
Justin: That’s a good way to go about it.
Kira: I also think part of it is just you want to create a Facebook group that you want to hang out in. And if you’re not … you don’t have that group yet, even though there are lots of other copywriter groups, that’s why we created it. And we shaped it the way we felt like … this is a place I want to hang out. And I think it’s the same thing with an event. While there are lots of events for copywriters, I hadn’t found an event where I was like, this is the event how I see it, and an event I’d want to attend with the speakers in the lineup that I want to hear.
And I think that’s what really got us both excited, was when we started to line up the speakers, and we started to get yes’ from some of the speakers that were top of our list. And like from there it was just easy at that point, because we got a lot of commitments and that’s when we did run into the problem of … oh my goodness, our program is jammed, because we have so many speakers because we’re so excited about all of these topics and all of these people.
Justin: Alright so, I know that you brought in an event planner for this one, which helped you avoid a lot of mistakes. But I’m curious … I know that there’ve also been other programs that you sort of pulled the plug on, some beta tests. Can you tell me about some of the mistakes and challenges that you’ve had along the way, just with TCC in general?
Kira: Well we can talk about one, which is … so we have our Accelerator program, which we’d already talked about. And we feel really good about that three month program, we had great results with multiple copywriters, including yourself. And the last round, as we were wrapping it up, we just really clicked with that group and they … many of them were asking well what’s next? What do we do now? Do you have any other programs? We surveyed them and they told us exactly what they needed at that point. And a lot of it was around confidence building and getting their copy critiqued. Because again, it’s like all about confidence at that stage. Once you have the business components down, you want to feel really good about your copy.
And so we didn’t have any type of offer for them. And because we really liked them and really felt like we could help, we just tried to throw together a program that we called Accelerator Plus, which isn’t necessarily a creative name but we just crafted it quickly and said okay, here is this copy critique program where we’ll critique your copy each month. And we pulled it together and gave them an idea of what was included and how much it would cost, and had eight or nine people interested from the group. And so we just launched it immediately.
The mistake is that, at the time we were juggling a lot with our Copywriter Think Tank and our own client work and I think we had something else happening too. Rob maybe you remember, but just there was a lot. And we weren’t really able to give it the time and attention it needed, in order to fulfill what we promised. And so we got a month into it and I wasn’t feeling good about it. I felt like I wasn’t giving it the time that was needed. And so Rob and I connected and were just like, is this worth it, are we making it valuable for the people that are paying us money, people that we respect in it? And we both just felt like we couldn’t deliver on the promise, unfortunately. And that we really took on more than we could handle at that point.
So I think we were trying to be everything for copywriters and we’re just two people, and we cannot do everything. So we shut it down, and made sure everyone was okay. And it felt like a mistake at the time, but I feel like we also tried to handle it with integrity and do it the right way, and shut it down the right way. And then months later we partnered with Amy Posner, who had a similar program and we partnered with her so she could offer the copy clinic to many of our members as well. And help them with copy critiques and confidence building. And everything that we had tried to offer, but we just couldn’t execute on, because of bandwidth.
I mean that’s like a real issue, and I think I personally feel like I could handle way more than I can, so looking back that was a mistake and it’s just … the lesson for me is really be clear about what you can do, and what you want to focus on and really like go all in on that. And don’t try to create multiple products and multiple programs when it doesn’t really make sense. And when you can partner with people who can do it just as well as you, if not better, you know partnerships are great. So I think I just changed our perspective on how we should build moving forward.
Rob: I think it comes down to, everything that we do, anything that we put together, whether it’s a program or if we were to offer an e-book or a training or anything like that, we want it to be really, really, valuable to people. And if we can’t walk away from having done it, thinking yep, that was totally worth it, everybody got more than they bargained for, then we just really don’t want to do it. And like Kira said, it just wasn’t feeling like we were delivering on that. So yes, so we pulled the plug. But I’m not sure it was a mistake, as much as it was an experiment that we tried and it just didn’t work. And again, I’m not sure that I would characterize anything that we’ve done in The Copywriter Club as a mistake because we just try stuff and if it works, awesome, we do more of it.
Kira: I’m drawing a blank on other ones. That was the big one that stood out to me.
Rob: Yeah, I mean there are a few things maybe that we could have done differently. So, I mentioned the number of speakers that we had at our event, and while I don’t regret having any of them there, it made for a really, really busy conference. People didn’t have a lot of time to take breaks, get to know each other, and so that maybe that was a mistake. A few months ago we tried to take the podcast to twice a week instead of once a week, which is where we’ve been since about last April. And we were thinking it would be great because there’s so many more people who we want to talk to and so many more things we want to talk about and the podcast seems to be appreciated by the people who listen to it. But it just took so much time, every time we do a podcast it’s five to eight hours worth of time, just to get it edited, and up, and to do the transcript and get it setup on the website for the feeds so that it shows up on time, and it was too much. So maybe those are two other things where our mistake has been trying to do too much.
Kira: That’s usually where our mistakes come from, trying to do too much. I mean probably the biggest mistake of all was ordering those wooden chairs for our TCC event. That was a huge mistake, sorry guys. I know that was painful.
Rob: Those were not comfortable.
Justin: I agree
Kira: Justin knows, it was painful.
I’d also say, again it’s like, is this a mistake, it’s just what we’ve learned from, and what we’re also still trying to do. Even with this episode, for both of us, is showing up more. And we love learning and interviewing other people. And I could just sit back and ask questions all day and I don’t care about talking about myself most of the time. I don’t think … I’ve stepped to the forefront on shows, and we haven’t created as much content on our shows or even YouTube, like creating video content, which is what we want to do. But it hasn’t been the focus, so I think that’s also something that we’re trying to focus more on, is sharing our content and what we’ve curated, what we’ve learned rather than always pulling in other people. Which is a great way to learn and I think I personally enjoy it. We both personally enjoy it.
But kind of just showing up and teaching more. So it’s not really a mistake, but it’s just something that, when we reflect back, we’re like oh yeah, we could be doing more of this. And also you know, building trust within the community, when people hear from you more, they understand who you are and trust you more, which could also help avoid conflicts. In communities and Facebook groups too, when people see a little bit more about you, understand your values and beliefs. So that’s just something that we’re continuing to do more of.
Justin: Cool. Yeah, building on that, you guys said that you’re doing a bit too much at times. And now I know that you guys also have your own personal businesses, where you write for clients. I have to imagine that TCC has brought you a lot of business. And I’m wondering how you balance that out. How do you even find the time to write for clients when you’re doing a podcast?
Kira: It’s hard.
Rob: It is definitely hard. Yeah.
Kira: Yeah so, it’s been challenging definitely but it’s doable, and so you have to scale back on client work if you’re building a new platform with a new audience and putting new offers out there or you have to amp up your systems. There’s a lot you have to do which it’s forced me to do and so in a way it’s been really good, because it’s forced me to work with a virtual assistant and to really focus on project management to set up systems for projects, which I just didn’t really have in place before. I just kind of ran everything on my own so I didn’t need it. Also, I started working with subcontractors more too, because there’s only so much time in the day. In order to maintain these type of projects, these large launches that I do, I needed to ask for help and so, that has been what I’ve been focused on this entire year really is kind of building out a team, a flexible team.
I don’t have a set number of team members but, based on the project I’ll bring on people and experts who would be a really great addition to that project. So in a way it feels like I’ve grown from just being just me and my business to really a team and a collective, so there’s been a lot more collaboration and to me it’s been really enjoyable. I mean there have been some learning lessons along the way to and it’s been hard at times, but I’ve enjoyed working with other copywriters and also realized, wow, we can … Just brainstorming, I feel like it’s just elevated so many other projects, too.
So I’d say that’s the biggest shift for me is just starting to build up the team, working with other copywriters, building out systems with a VA who loves systems. That’s just not my strength and then beyond that is starting to say no, really starting to say no to projects. Passing them onto other people and even offering a day rate like Tarzan spoke about on our show, because I can’t take on huge projects all the time. So I have to create other offers that are easier for me to execute on, so all of this has forced me to be smarter about the way I’m running my own business, because I have half the time to do it now. So it’s all good but it’s been painful to figure all this out.
Rob: Yeah, I would correct one misconception Justin, and that is for me at least, The Copywriter Club stuff that we’ve done has not led more project work, and that’s probably because a lot of my clients are in the tech and SaaS space and they really don’t care about copywriting. And so the work that we do in The Copywriter Club, the podcasts that we produce, any trainings, it’s brought me connections with other writers and there have been a few leads that have been shared back and forth with those writers, but it is not the kind of work that has increased my client work. Those have come from relationships that I’ve built outside of what I’ve done in The Copywriter Club.
Kira: Yeah I would say the same for me, I feel like it’s helped with authority building, so it’s always good for brand, but I don’t think I received many leads because of The Copywriter Club. I mean directly at least, if anything I’ve had moments where I’m like, ‘Wow I haven’t been marketing my own business.’ I’m not doing any of the things you should be doing because I’ve been focused on The Copywriter Club with Rob, and doing the right things to build out The Copywriter Club. So my marketing engine for my own business is nonexistent right now, other than a couple workshops I ran, so that’s been interesting too. I mean it’s been fine, we get referrals but I have moments were I get frustrated about that because I’m like, ‘Oh there’s so many things I want to do for my own business marketing wise,’ but you can’t do all the things, so we’ve been focused on building The Copywriter Club.
Justin: Interesting, because I know back on episode 50 when Ry interviewed you guys, kind of a similar thing to what I’m doing now, they talked about some of your goals. And Kira you wanted to work on VSL’s and direct response and creative product, and Rob you wanted to own and control in the supplement space. So at this point it’s been 51 episodes, so.
Kira: Wow, I didn’t know you were going to hold us accountable to that.
Justin: I’m doing it. You made me write 10,000 headlines. I am going to make you work on VSL. And so, Rob, you need to own and control. So how’s it going?
Kira: Rob, how’s it going?
Rob: So yeah, I do not own and control. I actually have written for a couple of supplements since then. They’re fun projects. They’re cool landing pages, but I did not beat the control. I think part of the reason was, I was telling a story and talking about … So it was for a green tea products, and my page was sort of a straight up sales page, and the control I was going against was a 50% discount. And for whatever reasons, at least through the testing they had run, I was close but did not beat that 50% discount. I think partly because the product is kind of a commodity product that’s available all over, and so it’s probably not the right product to beat the preexisting control.
I’m still looking for that. I still want more opportunities to write in that space, but it isn’t where most of my focus has been, and so I’ve still not reached that goal.
Kira: So for me, my goals have changed, which I guess is like, could be a cop out, but it’s not, because I think when during that conversation, that’s really what I wanted but what I realized since then is that I really should stay in my own lane, which is again, the launch space and helping launch programs, and courses and memberships. And I think I was just in that stage where you feel like you need to jump and try the next thing, and it was just like the next shiny object. And I think it was really hearing Brian Kurtz talk at our event, where he was talking about really going deep into your niche and what you do, and becoming the best at what you do, instead of just trying to spread yourself too thin.
Which that message resonated with me, and I realized that I really wanted to stay where I was, where I could just continue to get better and improve, and to make a name for myself in this space before jumping to the next thing. So since then, I’ve really just been more focused on doing one thing and doing it really well, and not trying to be everything and jumping around so much. And so I think it’s been a good decision, and I think I’ll know when it’s time to move on to the next area.
Justin: Yeah I remember Brian was talking about that is, go deep before you go wide.
Kira: Yep, exactly.
Justin: That was great, and that actually brings me to another question. I’m curious what other presentations from TCC or podcasts at this point, you’ve done a hundred of them. What advice has someone given you during an interview that you’ve been able to implement and just sort go all in on?
Rob: This one is one that’s really, really tough to narrow down on, because there’s so much good advice and it’s really hard to say just one or two, or even five, even ten, so I don’t know that I’ve really got a great answer for it, but I will say that the podcast and the things that I’ve learned at our event, have changed the way that I think about my business in a lot of ways. It’s helped me up my game as far as processes go. Onboarding, off boarding, client outreach. I think my sales calls are more effective because of some of the things that we’ve learned, and I actually think my copywriting has improved as well.
When we talk with people, I’ve said this a few times to people, but one of my all-time favorite episodes was when we talked with Sam Woods, all about human behavior and motivations, and even if you know those things, being reminded of them, you know when you hear them over and over. I think we talked about some of the stuff again with Joe Schriefer and with other guests. It’s a constant reminder, because we’re always talking about these things, so every time I pick up the keyboard and start writing, I’ve got this stuff going through my head. Have you done this, as far as establishing credibility? Have you done that as far as guaranteeing what’s going to happen, or removing risk? And have you written the headline in such a way that it conveys the big idea? So all of the things that we’ve talked about over the last hundred episodes, you know little pieces of it, I’m able to internalize that and hopefully people who are listening to the podcast are getting the same value out of it when they listen.
Kira: Yeah, I’d say, talking about big ideas, it’s come up in a lot of conversations. So Joe Schriefer talked about that. For me, I’ve been focusing a lot more on big ideas and really spending more time on the research and figuring that out before tackling the copy. And it’s made a big difference already, and I feel like I can do a lot more to improve that. So that stood out to me. Talking to Sarah Grear at the first interview about taking time off, that really stood, that was something that really inspired me and now we’re about to go on vacation for three weeks, which feels really dreamy. And I’ve been inspired by her and Sean D’Souza, who travels two or three months out of the year.
So a lot of the personal living, and all of the conversations about freedom and how to create a good life, that usually sticks with me. And also Bond Halbert. I know Justin, you really liked that episode too, talking about the editing process. You know again, something that it’s really easy to kind of just gloss over at the end of a project, because you just want to get done with the project, so there are a lot of really great tips in that episode as well. But so many, like Tarzan’s with day rates, I took a lot away from that. Started offering day rates after really learning from her about how to do it right.
I mean a lot of it’s really less about the process and you could take a lot away process related, and I do, but sometimes it’s just hearing from other copywriters, business owners, who are doing these things, where you’re like, ‘Oh, if they can do it, I can do it, too.’ And oftentimes, that’s the biggest, most empowering takeaway, is these people are doing it, I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to do it. And I think that’s where this show could be really powerful.
Also, I’d add Ken McCarthy’s conversation, which I want to go back and listen to again. He really talked about how copywriters just have this incredible skill set, and we don’t necessarily have to just use it for client work, and help other people sell their products. And we can use our skill set and our superpowers to create our own products, and sell our own ideas and events. So, that was just a really powerful conversation, too, that I’d love to revisit. But I agree with Rob. I’m sure so much of it has rubbed off on me and the business I’m creating, and the way I’m thinking, that I feel really lucky to be able to sit through all these conversations with a hundred plus people now.
Justin: Yeah, there’ve been some really interesting ones from people that aren’t necessarily born copywriters that have evolved, like some of the event producers and the imposter syndrome.
Justin: Yeah. There’s just so many different elements that it’s been able to weave together and I’m wondering how that’s evolved some of the courses like The Accelerator? Because you’ve had these new things come out, like Tarzan with the day rates, and just the way that people are approaching their businesses is very different right now. And it just seems to be going further, and further, and I’m wondering how the programs that you’re teaching have evolved.
Rob: I’m not sure that I would grant the premise that things are that much different. I mean when it comes right down to it, running a business hasn’t changed dramatically for decades. There are still the fundamentals that you have to get in place, in order to make things work. But there are ideas that people are trying out, to do things differently, like you mentioned the day rates. There are, people are testing things with processes and outreach, there’s been a lot of conversation lately in the Facebook group around LinkedIn and how to reach clients on LinkedIn. And so there’s, I think, a lot of tactics change, but strategically, running a business requires a lot of basic fundamentals, and making sure that you’re making a profit, and making sure that you’re talking to the right people, and all of those kinds of things.
And so the basics that we teach in The Accelerator haven’t changed a lot, but the calls that we have with the writers as we go through the different modules, and talk about those fundamentals, then we also talk about, ‘Well here’s some tactics that other people are trying,’ and that’s I think one of the great things about the accelerator as a program, is that while there are the modules that we’ve created, that you know have the basics, we spend a lot of time still getting to know each other, talking about businesses, running through ideas, proposing ideas for people to try. Talking through niche ideas or lead magnet ideas, or headlines for people’s websites. All of that stuff is up for discussion, so tactics are changing constantly, and we’re always trying different things, but the fundamentals don’t change a whole lot. And I think that’s true of copywriting as well. Fundamentals of human behavior haven’t changed in 10-20,000 years, but the tactics change. The ways we reach people change.
Kira: Yeah, I’d say, it’s just more of an exchange of information at this point. With Facebook groups, not just our own, but copywriters connecting and talking about their secrets and beyond just their systems. But it’s amazing what people give away, just in our interviews, and they’re willing to come on and share details of their process because they know not everyone will even execute it, and this will just help everyone and they’re not … there’s enough for everybody. So I think there’s just this really great attitude, where people aren’t out for themselves, it’s just like, ‘How can we help each other?’ And give a little bit, and get some, too. So I think it’s just because we’re talking about money, and we’re talking about, ‘How did you do that? How did you charge this much?’
So people are asking how, and that’s where a lot of these great conversations are coming from, where it’s not like, you can’t just drop a number and say, ‘I made 50k a month.’ You have to talk about how you did it, and share that wealth of information because people want to know, and they want to learn from each other, and figure out how we can take something that you’re sharing, and then use it in our business. I think that’s what’s happening, what’s really cool to see. So you can take something and you can leave what doesn’t work for you, but at least exchange these ideas and it will help all of us.
I think when it goes back to The Accelerator program, I know what I see is that we sell is, we sell confidence, we sell clarity, and then focus. And those are the basics that you really need to get your business going. And maybe we’re talking about new branding or what niche you’re going to focus on, or what’s your first package. But it’s all really about feeling confident when you get on that sales call. Feeling confident that you can deliver what you’re promising, feeling like you have a game plan and you’re focused and feeling really clear about the direction you’re moving in over the next few months. And that’s what we all need. Especially new copywriters, and I mean, all copywriters as we continue to grow your business. But I feel like, that’s really what we sell in The Accelerator.
Justin: I like that. You talked about just joining up with different Masterminds and even at your level, you guys are still getting coached, right? You both met at Copy Hackers, and I think you guys are both in Brian Kurtz’s program, and if I’m not mistaken, Dan Kennedy’s? So do you ever think that you’ll hit a point where you’re not going to need more instruction, or it’s just always something that there’s more to learn?
Rob: Yeah, when we die, I think, we’ll reach that point. So, honestly, this is an entire learning experience for everybody, and to get better at copywriting as a specialty, there’s always something to learn. There’s always strategies or tactics, but there’s also things to learn about your niche. There’s things to learn about human behavior. I don’t ever see learning ending. I don’t think learning has to be expensive. You do not need to join a thousand dollar a month, or $10,000 a year, or whatever mastermind. You can choose specialists that you want to learn from that have written books. There are hundreds of fantastic books. We’ve got a list on our site, with a couple of dozen really good ones. We have the list that Parris Lampropolous recommended that’s on our site. So you could learn from those people, but for me at least, learning isn’t going to stop. Even if I retire, I imagine that there’s still things that I want to learn and grow, for my own personal development.
Kira: Yeah, ditto, and also, we’re not in Dan Kennedy’s group, just to correct you. But I’m in an accountability group, I’m in two Masterminds right now. Actually no, in three really.
Rob: Three if you count our own, yeah.
Kira: Well, more, okay four. So there are a bunch. Each one offer something different, but yeah I think it’s just answers the question. It never stops. Brian Kurtz talks about how he’s had this incredible career and so many accomplishments he could share, that would blow you away, yet he’s still learning, right? He’s in six Mastermind groups, and attending all the events and wants to continue to learn and share and teach. I don’t think it ever ends. You just have figure out at each stage what you need because that will change. What you need at the time might differ and just pay attention to that, and there are times that you can take breaks. You don’t have to like constantly be in a mastermind group to excel. It’s good to also take breaks from all of it.
I think it’s important to always look for mentors to make sure that you’re in a room where you feel like you’re the dumbest person in the room and you’re surrounded by people who want to help and share and so that room could be different for everyone, but to find those rooms and then continue to build relationships too, so beyond just the learning piece. For me it’s more like yes, I’m happy to learn in all of these groups that I join but I’m more interested in the relationships. Because those are long term and those can really make or break a business.
Justin: That’s great. You’re always learning about other groups and seeing what they’re doing. I guess that leads me to the question of what’s next for TCC?
Kira: So we’re really excited about offering our event again. I think it took us a couple months to recover from it, but now we’re really excited again. It will be a bigger event. We’ll find a bigger venue and we’ll host it in New York City again. We’re still figuring out the dates, so we will know the dates soon, and then we’re going to start making plans and working on that, but that’s really exciting because while it’s great to hang out with everyone and Facebook, it’s way better to actually hang out with them in person and go to the club late night like we did last time, dance.
All of that is just so much fun, in one of my favorite cities in the world. We’re pumped about that and then also we’re launching a new membership in September. I don’t think we’re going to share all of the details at this point, but we’re both really excited about it, focusing a lot of time and resources and energy on it. It’s of course an experiment like everything else we’ve done, but we want to figure out how to make it really valuable for our community, based on what we’ve learned over the last year and a half, building The Copywriter Club and then beyond, so that it’s something that can really help copywriters grow their businesses and book clients and grow. We’re excited about that, and then Rob, I’ll let you talk about everything else we’re excited about.
Rob: We are launching a new website, to live as a new home for The Copywriter Club. Obviously so much happens on Facebook and a lot of people I think only know of us in Facebook because our website has been so bad. We’ve had the transcripts and the links from all of the podcast episodes, but we are launching a new website. There will be resources and tools there in addition to the podcast. There will be blog posts. They’re super focused on specific skill sets in copywriting or business building. There’ll be a lot more content there.
That’s going to grow and develop. We are really excited to be able to share that. Anybody who’s been to our website knows that we threw up a template when we first launched, something basically just to host the podcast and while it’s there, we’d never put any kind of design focus. It’s a free template that has been there for a long time and it’s about time that we actually got a new permanent home. That will be launching also at the end of August, first part of September.
Justin: Very, very cool. Now I know that we’re running out of time, but I do have a lot of lightening round questions that people want answers to, if we have time.
Rob: Let’s do it.
Justin: All right. We’re going to go quick. As fast as we can.
Kira: Oh my gosh. I don’t think … I’m just going to say for the record, I fail lightening rounds. I don’t do anything quick. Just to put that out there.
Rob: We’re going to do this. This is going to be …
Kira: I can do this.
Rob: We can talk about this as a failure in the next time we get on.
Kira: I fail at lightening rounds.
Rob: Yeah, we’ll do it.
Justin: All right. We’re going to go quick. I’m going to go back and forth. Rob, what’s the best mistake you ever made?
Rob: So, there are probably a ton of them that I could mention. Early in my career I took a job. I was hired by somebody who was then subsequently fired before I even started the job. Went there, it was not the best corporate situation. Stayed there for quite a while. I think there was a lot of negative feelings, as I took that job and I didn’t love it, but it was probably a great mistake because it connected me with somebody who led me to my next opportunity which was a startup which was acquired successfully working with super smart people, really great experience, that then led to starting my own company, which then led back to copywriting and to what we’re doing today. So, yeah, I think that was probably my best mistake.
Justin: Kira, what would you career be now if you weren’t a copywriter?
Kira: I would be in the movie industry. I would be a director, writer/director/producer, all of it.
Justin: All of it. Rob, what’s the weirdest thing in your search history?
Rob: Oh man. I’m not that weird, so probably Wikipedia’s list of lists.
Rob: Yeah, it’s a list of lists. Actually I think there are lists of lists of lists on Wikipedia now.
Kira: What do you mean a list of lists? I don’t …
Rob: Like a list of lists. Stuff, like lists of people or things, but there’s a list of what all of the lists are.
Kira: Oh okay. Okay, we’ll talk about that later.
Rob: I’ll send you a link.
Justin: Kira, what’s the favorite line you’ve ever written?
Kira: So, I’d say because I talk about clarity in so many of the programs I’m selling, I always like to say it’s clear as something, right? So I just have fun with that. It’s clear as vodka. It’s clear as Aquafina. I always challenge myself to think of something clear that I can pull into the copy so that I’m not just talking about how everything is so crystal clear. That’s something I could share.
Justin: Rob, if you had to adopt a trait of a hobbit, would it be the feet or the height?
Rob: I can’t tell you how much I dislike Lord of the Rings. I guess feet because I don’t really want to be any shorter than I am. So feet.
Justin: Kira, what’s your most overused word or phrase?
Kira: Oh my goodness. It’s like. Also, kind of. Like and kind of.
Justin: Right. Rob, what’s the interview that’s intimidated you most?
Rob: I don’t know that I’ve been that intimidated by any of the interviews, but I guess if I had to choose one, I would say, when we talked with Seth Godin.
Kira: Yes, that was intimidating.
Justin: Kira, what’s the interview that surprised you most?
Kira: I have three. Again, not great for lightening. Iman Zabi because she just downplayed herself. She’s like, oh I don’t know if I’m going to do a great job on the interview and she just came on and just so natural and just so charming and just rocked it. That was just really fun. Mel Abraham because he was talking about frameworks and just what he shared seemed so valuable and relevant to copywriters even though he’s not a copywriter. It seemed like oh my goodness. We should all be using frameworks to sell our own services and to sell our client services.
That was just amazing, and then Tanya Geisler, who talked about the imposter complex which I don’t think we realized how big of a show that would be for copywriters. We’ve referenced it so many times. That’s what so many of deal with so that was, yeah, that probably was the most surprising one.
Justin: All right. Rob, what’s something you’re good at that has absolutely no practical value?
Rob: I can wiggle my ears.
Kira: Can you?
Rob: I can, yeah.
Kira: I’m learning so much about you. We should do this all the time.
Rob: Okay. More lightening round.
Justin: All right, Kira, do you floss before or after brushing your teeth?
Kira: My dentist probably hates me because I have not flossed recently. I need to up my flossing game, but it would definitely be after. I’m a failure as a flosser.
Justin: Rob, what’s the website you can’t live without?
Rob: TCC Facebook.
Kira: Aw. Aw
Justin: Kira, what’s your dream collaboration?
Kira: This is hard to answer, but Tina Fey would be pretty cool. That’s good. Tamara Mellon, the shoe designer. I’d love to work with her too, and probably a ton of other people I just can’t think of.
Justin: All right. Rob, who’s your dream client?
Rob: I’m not sure that I have a single dream client, but clients that are past the startup phase in the tech space and growth, growing, trying to do some new things. That’s my favorite client.
Justin: I’m looking forward to the answer to this one. Kira, have you ever been in a fistfight?
Kira: I’m pretty sure we all know the answer to this one.
Rob: It’s got to be yes, please.
Rob: Tell me it’s yes.
Kira: No. Of course not. I would get killed.
Justin: I’m so disappointed.
Kira: Have you seen my arms? I would get killed.
Rob: We’re going to have a fistfight then, so that you can answer yes next time.
Kira: All right.
Justin: Rob, what’s the oldest thing you own?
Rob: I have an old book. It’s like an original printing of Mark Twain that my grandfather gave to me, that his grandfather gave to him.
Justin: Nice. See, now Kira if you get into a fight with Rob, I can ask you what’s the oldest thing you own, and you can say Rob.
Justin: Kira, as a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Kira: I wanted to be an actress at one point. Always an artist. A mom. Later on, an executive in a big building.
Justin: Rob, .gif or .jif?
Rob: Oh, .gif for sure. You don’t say jirage. It’s .gif. I don’t care what the guy who created it said. It is asinine to pronounce .gif as .jif. Sorry.
Kira: I’m so glad that you cleared that up for the world. I feel like I really believe you.
Rob: Let’s just be straight on this. Like end of discussion.
Justin: I’m with you on that.
Kira: All right.
Justin: Kira, what’s your favorite word?
Kira: Can we skip that one, because I don’t have a favorite word.
Justin: You’re so bad a lightening rounds. Rob, would you rather lose 50% of your hair or gain 50% more but not know where it’s going to grow?
Rob: Oh man. I think I would probably take more, and just hope for the best.
Justin: Kira, you see a giant spider crawl into you bed but you can’t find it. What city do you move to?
Justin: Fair enough. Rob, Kimmel, Conan, Fallon or Colbert?
Rob: Carson. None of the above. None of the above. It’s Carson for sure.
Justin: This is my favorite question on the list.
Kira: I am not doing this. You can ask Rob this one. I’m not doing this. You can do this Justin, as the host.
Justin: All right. So the question is, well it’s more of a statement. Order a coffee in the voice of Snuffleupagus.
Rob: I think you can warm up to that one Kira, and maybe do it next time.
Justin: I’d like a large mochaccino please.
Kira: I knew you’d practiced this one. I was like, you should just do this.
Justin: You can’t write that without practicing it. Rob, this is going to be a tough one for you. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Rob: Yeah, there’s not one. There are so many. I think my favorite book is probably Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy, but I love The Godfather. I love anything that is written by David McCullough. Truman is a fantastic book. I mean, I can go on forever. There’s a book about the attempted assassination on Reagan called Rawhide that reads like a thriller. I love anything written by Michael Connolly.
Justin: Kira would you rather cuddle a koala or a penguin?
Kira: A penguin. Koalas are danger.
Justin: Rob, who’s inspiring you today?
Rob: Today as in Friday or today as in general?
Kira: Oh my gosh. We do suck at this.
Justin: Coming out of …
Kira: This is just falling apart.
Rob: Again, probably the people, the books that I’m reading, so right now it’s Robert Scrobe, All About Membership sites and information products. Let’s say that.
Justin: Kira, what’s something everyone likes but you don’t?
Kira: Oh shoot. Oh my gosh. I don’t know.
Justin: You’re so bad at this.
Kira: That’s a hard question. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ll think about it. I’ll think about it. Skip.
Justin: All right. Rob, who’s your favorite Disney princess?
Rob: The Scottish one. What’s? I don’t know what her name is but …
Rob: Yeah, that one.
Justin: She’s awesome.
Kira: Okay, what about, what about like soda? Everyone likes soda but I don’t? A lot of people drink soda, so that’s legit.
Justin: It’s legit. I’ll take it. Kira, you’re in a rock band. What do you call it?
Kira: Kiki and the Rockers.
Justin: Kiki and the Rockers. Not like Kiki and Rocco, from Flashback to episode 50.
Kira: Nope. No, Rocco is, Rocco could be one of the rockers. Kiki and the Rockers.
Justin: Rob, would you rather fight a chicken-sized tiger or a tiger-sized chicken?
Rob: Chicken-sized tiger. I don’t even want to fight a chicken-sized chicken. Chickens are mean.
Justin: Kira, what’s the best job you ever had?
Kira: A creative advertising design job in college. That was just awesome.
Justin: Rob, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Rob: Sold toys in a department store over Christmas.
Kira: Oh, I’d love to see that.
Rob: It was awful. It was awful.
Justin: Kira, what theme song play in your head when you enter a room?
Kira: No theme song unfortunately. Just awkward silence.
Justin: All right. Okay. Potentially filling a blank space there. Cricket. Cricket. Rob, you’re in a plane crash in the Andes. It’s you, Kira, Brian Kurtz and Kevin Rogers. Who do you eat first?
Rob: Oh man. I’m probably the one that’s going to get eaten first because those guys are all so skinny, there wouldn’t be anything to eat.
Justin: Kira, what’s your proudest moment over the last two years?
Kira: Proudest professional moment was our live event, TCC. Our live event for sure.
Justin: Rob, at what age do you want to retire?
Rob: I don’t think I want to retire.
Justin: Interesting. Kira, are vegetarians allowed to eat animal crackers?
Kira: No they are not.
Justin: Definitive answer. I like it. Rob, you’re in a time machine. What year do you go to?
Rob: Do I have to choose one? All of them. Let’s say something in the 1960s, hang out with the rat pack.
Justin: Cool. Kira, what advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting out?
Kira: Do something uncomfortable every week.
Justin: All right. Now this one’s actually for both of you guys. As of this morning, your membership is up to 8,407 people on the TCC. Has it hit you yet how many people you’ve helped?
Rob: I have no idea. I hope we’ve helped a lot of them, and certainly we’re not the only ones helping anybody in that group, so hopefully people find what we do in The Copywriter Club immensely helpful as far as their businesses. Maybe even gives them a laugh or two in their personal life, but yeah, I’m not sure how to answer that.
Kira: Yeah, I’m happy if we’ve helped 10 people. I’m happy. That’s cool.
Justin: Well I know that it’s a lot more than 10, and I’m just one of the many writers and entrepreneurs that you’ve helped. You’ve been a huge factor, not just in my business but in my life and on behalf of everyone in the club, and The Accelerator and Think Tank and all the different versions of it, thank you for all you do, and thanks for your time.
Rob: Thanks Justin.
Kira: Thanks Justin.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available at iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by reading your review. For show notes, a full transcript and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.
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